Library Research Skills
The information you find on the Web is as varied as the people who put it there!
Who puts information on the Web?
Individuals - People from nearly every country publish pages on the Web, representing a wide variety of views and languages.
Universities & Colleges – Third level educational institutions put entire classes online as well as provide space for their faculty and students to produce Web pages. Much of the information you need to enrol and register for classes can be found on the Web.
Government Agencies - In order to make information available to more people, national and local government agencies are publishing many documents on the Web. Revenue Online System (ROS), Motor tax Online, Leaving Cert results and CAO offers and Local Authority bill pay schemes to name but a few.
Companies - Many companies publish financial documents and press releases on their sites. The Web is also a major marketing tool for many companies to provide information about their products. Nike produces a popular site full of sports information.
Organizations - Organizations have agendas and opinions that they want you to know about. The American Lung Association educates about the dangers of smoking on its Web page.
Libraries - That's right, libraries are major producers and purchasers of quality information on the Web. In the US the Library of Congress puts copies of important historical photographs and documents on their site called "The American Memory Project." In Ireland the Public Library network through the Library Council – An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, has produced two new web sites. The first www.library.ie, which disseminates information about the Library network in Ireland, and www.askaboutireland.ie site which, gives the public unique access to new information, rare images and documents from Irish public libraries, museums and archives.
Although we've been making some distinctions between the Web and the library, the two aren't entirely different things. It's important to understand that there is a middle-ground - the idea of the "Library on the Web." That is to say, many libraries have Web sites, which organize information and provide access to collections of quality resources.
One great thing about using the library on the Web is that the information has been evaluated and organized. Much of this information is from the government, companies, universities & colleges and foreign countries.
In some cases the library has digitised part of their own collections for people around the world to explore and use – Wexford’s Digital Archive, available at www.wexford.ie\library through the library catalogue. This site gives access to searchable full text documents, local history journals, photos and other digital images.
Keep in mind that although there is an increasing amount of information in this "digital library" you will still not find electronic full text versions of all the resources you would find in the physical library.
Another aspect of this library is how easy it is for you to access. Library Web sites often have information about library hours, policies and contact information if you need assistance. If you are a student and away from home, you can use the public library online 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any Internet-connected computer. In some cases you can even find the full text of articles from magazines and journals for the past 20 years all through the library's Web page.
Copyright (c) 2005 by Susan Kelly, Wexford County Library Service.
Adapted and modified (5th December 2005) from TILT, Texas Information Literacy Tutorial. This material is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the TILT Open Publication Licence. (the latest version is presently available at http://tilt.lib.utsystem.edu/yourtilt/).